Planning law in Wales – modernised and simplified

Today we launched a consultation to find out what needs to be done to modernise and simplify planning law in Wales.

Existing planning law in England and Wales is overly complicated and difficult for professionals and the public to use. It was last consolidated in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and has been developing piecemeal ever since. In Wales, devolution and the increasing divergence between Welsh and English law has created an even more fragmented and complicated picture.

In our consultation we are asking whether there is a case for creating a new code for planning law in Wales – a single, easily accessible body of legislation, rules and regulations – that would:

  • restate the existing law in a modern, consistent and well-ordered way
  • modernise the language and remove ambiguities,
  • streamline and rationalise processes and procedures, and
  • include rules and interpretations developed from case law.

Nicholas Paines QC, Law Commissioner for public law said:

“Wales should have a legal framework that supports its planning needs and works effectively for developers, planning authorities and communities. But planning law in Wales has become fragmented and almost impossible to navigate. We have an exciting opportunity now to identify the scope of what needs to be done to create clearer, simpler and more modern law, and to take the first constructive steps towards a fully comprehensive codification of the legal framework that regulates development and land use in Wales.”